Police Blotter: Counterfeit Cigarettes

From: Lawrenceville Patch (Lawrence Township, N.J.)


An investigation by Lawrence Township police and the New Jersey Division of Taxation resulted in the arrest of Vishal Patel, 34, of Edison, on charges alleging he sold counterfeit cigarettes from his shop, Fox’s Pizza, on Lawrenceville-Pennington Road, according to township police Detective Sgt. Joseph Amodio.

The investigation began in June when a township resident sent an email to Police Chief Daniel Posluszny complaining that Newport cigarettes she had allegedly purchased at Fox’s Pizza “tasted funny,” Amodio said.

He said police obtained the cigarettes from the woman and sent them to the Lorillard Tobacco Co. – maker of Newports – to be tested. Those tests confirmed that the cigarettes were counterfeit, likely manufactured in China, but packaged to look as if they were real Newports, he said.

Earlier this month, township police and state tax investigators visited Fox’s Pizza and seized 11 cartons of allegedly counterfeit cigarettes, Amodio said. He said the cigarette packages even bore imitation state sales tax stamps.

Patel was subsequently arrested and charges filed against him by the state Division of Taxation included possession of goods without paying the required tax and failure to keep records as required by state tax law, according to Amodio.


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